India records 0 Covid deaths in 24-hour period for first time since March 2020

India’s federal government announced that the country has recorded zero Covid deaths for the first time since March 2020.

The federal health ministry said on Tuesday that the country recorded a single-day rise of 625 fresh Covid-19 cases, the lowest since 9 April, 2020, when a total of 540 new cases were reported.

Federal health ministry data shows that the country’s infection tally has climbed to 4,46,62,141, while active cases have declined to 14,021.

India’s death toll from the disease stood at 5,30,509.

The first Covid-19 death in India was reported in Karnataka where a 76-year-old man from Kalaburgi died from the virus.

India’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic has drawn global criticism, particularly during the devastating second wave last summer which saw the country’s largely public funded health infrastructure brought to its knees.

There were shortages of hospital beds and medical oxygen, with people running pillar to post to get treatment as the Delta wave ravaged the country.

Mass funerals were also seen, while dead bodies were found floating across the river Ganga, drawing sharp criticism.

The World Health Organisation in May accused India of being the world’s worst country in undercounting Covid deaths. In April, India was also accused of stalling the WHO’s efforts to revise the global Covid-19 death toll after it pegged the country’s actual number of deaths to be over four million.

It estimated nearly 4.75 million deaths in India since 2020, against India’s official death toll of 481,000 Covid-19 deaths for 2020-21.

The WHO said that these casualties were linked to the Covid pandemic — either directly or indirectly through the impact of infection’s outbreak on the health infrastructure which collapsed last summer.

The federal government led by prime minister Narendra Modi has denied any mismanagement and questioned the WHO’s methodology.